Eugene Louis Boudin Biography

Eugene Louis Boudin




Painter, pastelist, and printmaker Eugene Louis Boudin was forn on July 12, 1824, in Bonfleur, France. The son of a harbour pilot, he worked alongside his father on a steamboat at age ten, traveling daily between his hometown and Le Havre on the water, no matter the weather. These landscapes and atmospheres would influence his artwork for the entirety of his career. After his father retired from seafaring, he opened a framing and stationary store that catered to local artists served as an exhibition space. Boudin met Constant Troyon, Jean Francois-Millet, Jean-Baptiste Isabey, and Thomas Couture, who encouraged the young artist to pursue painting. He travelled throughout Paris and Flanders in his early 20s, teaching himself to paint, and in 1850 he was awarded a scholarship to move to Paris and attend the studio of Eugene Isabey. To improve his skills he worked as a copyist at the Louvre and painted landscapes of Normandy to supplement his living costs.

An encounter with Dutch artist Johan Jongkind led the landscape artist to paint en plein air, a practice that until then had not found footing in Paris. This proved fortuitous and by 1859 he was given favorable reviews by art critic Charles Baudelair upon his first exhibition at the 1859 Paris Salon. His reputation continued to rise and he was soon able to travel frequently, painting outdoor scenes and landscapes in England, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Of particular interest to him were marinas, rivers, and seasides with wide, moody skies. Now considered a major influence to the Impressionists, Boudin was then mentor to a young Claude Monet and indeed participated in the first official Impressionst exhibition in Paris, but he did not consider himself as such.

Boudin won a third place medal at the Paris Salon in 1881, and a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. He was made a knight of the Legion d'Honneur in 1892. He died in Deauville, France, on August 8, 1898. Revered by many artists of his time for his ability to capture fleeting, atmospheric light, he was deemed the "king of the skies" by Corot.